Description - The Rift by V. Y. Mudimbe
"The Rift" explores textuality, writing, solitude, and death in the context of contemporary African life, and at the same time examines the constitution and materiality of African subjectivity. Mudimbe presents to us the story of the notebooks of a young historian and archivist, Ahmed Nara. Found after his sudden death, the journals contain entries from the last few days of this African doctoral student's life. A postcolonial Francophone "intellectual" adrift simultaneously in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris and his National Library in Africa, Ahmed is attempting to write himself out of the anguish of his predicament. The world in which Ahmed lives is clearly that of a "Francophone" and neocolonial African state. His entries are erratic, impressionistic, abruptly shifting in tone, register, and reference. Ahmed's clinical schizophrenia is itself a metaphor of postcolonial Africa fraught with political, sexual, cultural, and linguistic indeterminacies that mark the uncertainty of the events he describes. Mudimbe's writing is provocative, demanding, and distinctly modernist.
In its compelling exploration of the production of African knowledge within or outside the interstices of imperial space, "The Rift" contributes significantly to contemporary debates about the liminal subject split to use Homi Bhabha's phrase "between the here and the there" and most important, about issues of power and postcolonial epistemology. V.Y. Mudimbe is one of Africa's leading intellectuals. He is an established literary figure in Europe and Africa. He is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including "Before the Birth of the Moon" and "Between Tides". Marjolijn De Jager has translated many works of fiction, including Mudimbe's "Before the Birth of the Moon", Ken Bugul's "Abandoned Baobab", and Assia Djebar's "Women of Algiers in their Apartment".
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University of Minnesota Press
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
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Book Reviews - The Rift by V. Y. Mudimbe